Written by Kathy Fauble, M.Ed., Director, Professional Education Services

A few weeks ago, I was super excited to attend the USA Gymnastics finals in St. Louis where they picked the women’s team for the Tokyo Olympics. It was a bucket list thing. I’ve been a huge gymnastics fan since I watched Nadia Comaneci score a perfect 10 in the Olympics many years ago.

A perfect 10 was unheard of before Nadia. No one believed a gymnast could be flawless. Nadia proved them wrong. But what does a score really mean? Were the other gymnast slackers who had not tried or was Nadia better because she was more motivated by her coaches and goals?

So much of hospital life is measured by scores: patient satisfaction, employee satisfaction, employee reviews, quality, safety, outcomes. It’s time-consuming and can lead to employee burnout and frustration if approached the wrong way. With all the focus on numbers, leaders (coaches) can lose sight of the people side of work. But it’s your people who matter most. Research consistently shows that hospitals with a culture that values employees, sets people-development goals, and supports individuals in their daily jobs are more likely to have higher rates of retention, patient-centered care, patient-safety culture, and quality of care.

In a study by Graham Lowe titled, “How Employee Engagement Matters for Hospital Performance,” Lowe found engaged employees to be more committed to their employer, satisfied with their work and willing to give extra effort to achieve the organization’s goals. What I found to be remarkable is that it’s the little things that matter most. Employees like a culture where:

  • Teams work together and help each other out.
  • There is the ability to make suggestions to improve the work of the team or unit.Supervisors treat you fairly.
  • Employees and leaders support one another.
  • Senior management shows commitment to quality of care and workplace safety.
  • Everyone understands the goals and mission of the hospital.

We might not all have the natural talent to be a perfect 10 as a leader, but we can all strive to do a little better and come a little closer to our goals. Look around and see what you can do in a small, but impactful way to improve employee engagement. Your other scores may improve as a result.